I see a 3-year-old boy with Down syndrome for speech therapy. For a very long time, he had no words, so he communicated by crying and whining, mostly. I diligently tried to keep his attention as I taught him the baby signs for “dog”, “car”, “drink”, “ball”, “rain”, “helicopter”. All important words for little ones.
I didn’t think he was paying attention until one day I showed up for therapy, and his mom told me this story:
The little fella’s grandma visited for the weekend during a torrential rain storm. Florida has some scary-loud thunderstorms with dramatic lightening shows. Grandma saw the little fella crying and raising his hands up and lowering them straight down. His mom realized he was saying “rain” in baby sign because that was what was making him cry.
That reminds me of another little girl that I see for speech therapy. She had 30 words in her repertoire, all baby signs, before she spoke her first word. Her mom told me that at a routine doctor’s appointment, the little 2-year-old girl cried and cried, and produced the baby sign for “boo-boo”. She was afraid that the doctor would hurt her.
This little guy is saying “help”.
This gal is saying “please” or maybe “I’m sorry.” I’m not sure which. By the look on her face, I’m guessing she’s saying “please.”